One Response to Marx 2016!

Edmund Burke and Political Reform

Thursday, November 17, AD 2011

Edmund Burke is the political thinker most central to shaping my own political views.  Regarded as the founder of modern conservatism, Burke was an odd mixture of idealistic philosopher and practical politician.  Although he presents his ideas in luminous prose, he has often been caricatured as a mere reactionary.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Burke realized that societies change all the time, just as individuals change as they proceed through life.  How the change occurred in the political realm was to Burke of the greatest moment.

Rather than a reactionary, Burke was actually a reformer, fighting against abuses in his time, for example the penal laws which treated Irish Catholics as helots in their own land, and English Catholics as foreigners in theirs’.  When the colonists in America carried on a decade long struggle against the colonial policies of the government of George III before rising in revolt, Burke ever spoke on their behalf in a hostile Parliament, and defended his stance before a hostile electorate.  He prosecuted the first British Governor General of India, Warren Hastings, for crimes committed against the native population.

One of the things that has always struck me about Burke is his consistency, whether defending the rights of Irish and English Catholics, of the American colonists, of the Indians under British rule or attacking the tyranny of the French revolutionaries.  He was always against arbitrary power and held that government could not simply uproot societies.

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One Response to Edmund Burke and Political Reform

Poor Misunderstood Marx!

Tuesday, March 29, AD 2011

Commonweal has an article by Marxist literary critic Terry Eagleton in which he argues that Marx was right in his critique of captalism.  Go here to read it.  Go here to read a post about the article which appeared on the Commonweal blog.  ( I will confess to having a very slight  grudging respect for Mr. Eagleton ever since his memorable, and scorching,  review which may be read here, of Richard Dawkins’ inane The God Delusion.  The respect is very slight and very grudging indeed, since Mr. Eagleton also wrote a bitter diatribe against John Paul II, which may be read here, after the death of the pontiff.  He also views the Catholic Church, the Church he was raised in, as “one of the nastiest authoritarian outfits on the planet”, which is rich coming from a Marxist.)

The Marx set forth in the article by Mr. Eagleton is unrecognizable to me.  The Marx of history was not some sort of democratic eurosocialist.  He was a hard core advocate of terror.  The quotations from his works and letters on this point are legion.  Here is a typical statement he made in 1850 in an address to the Communist League:

“[The working class] must act in such a manner that the revolutionary excitement does not collapse immediately after the victory.  On the contrary, they must maintain it as long as possible.  Far from opposing so-called excesses, such as sacrificing to popular revenge of hated individuals or public buildings to which hateful memories are attached, such deeds must not only be tolerated, but their direction must be taken in hand, for examples’ sake.”

From the same address:

To be able forcefully and threateningly to oppose this party, whose betrayal of the workers will begin with the very first hour of victory, the workers must be armed and organized. The whole proletariat must be armed at once with muskets, rifles, cannon and ammunition, and the revival of the old-style citizens’ militia, directed against the workers, must be opposed. Where the formation of this militia cannot be prevented, the workers must try to organize themselves independently as a proletarian guard, with elected leaders and with their own elected general staff; they must try to place themselves not under the orders of the state authority but of the revolutionary local councils set up by the workers. Where the workers are employed by the state, they must arm and organize themselves into special corps with elected leaders, or as a part of the proletarian guard. Under no pretext should arms and ammunition be surrendered; any attempt to disarm the workers must be frustrated, by force if necessary. The destruction of the bourgeois democrats’ influence over the workers, and the enforcement of conditions which will compromise the rule of bourgeois democracy, which is for the moment inevitable, and make it as difficult as possible – these are the main points which the proletariat and therefore the League must keep in mind during and after the approaching uprising.

Nothing done by the Communist states that claimed Marx as their ideological father in regard to the suppression of adversaries and the use of mass terror to remain in power cannot find full warrant in the works of Marx.

Of course, Marx goes wrong at the very beginning in regard to his view of Man which is completely materialist.  In his A Contribution to the Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right, Marx spelled out his view that religion was an illusion which deterred the revolutionary rage of the people:

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53 Responses to Poor Misunderstood Marx!

  • In addition, Marxism has been ineptly applied by run-of-the-mill megalomaniacs like Lenin, Stalin, Mao, and Pol Pot.

    Today, Glory-O!, we have geniuses like our messianic magic man Obama and Uncle Joe Biden doing it correctly.

    “All attempts to create Heaven on Earth have resulted in hell on Earth.” Camus

    Ah, hell on earth . . . OTOH they will make the evil rich miserable, too . . . Go for it!

  • Both Pope Benedict XVI and Cardinal Reinhardt Marx of Munich have suggested that Marx’s critique of alienation under capitalistic forms of economic production is largely correct, while of course maintaining that the Marxist solution, because atheistical and totalitarian in practice (if not necessarily in intent) is a non-starter. Likewise, Pope Benedict XVI quotes approvingly, though critically, the great Marxist philosopher Adorno in his excellent encyclical Spe Salvi; likewise, the phenomenology of labor in JPII’s Laborem Exercens is clearly influenced by some aspects of the early Marx’s thought.

  • Even Marx WJ could not manage the feat of being wrong all the time, although he did give it his worst efforts.

  • All powerful lies have to have at least a small amount of truth to them, otherwise no one would believe them. If there is a grain of “truth” to Marxism, it may be in its “critique of alienation under capitalistic forms of economic production.” Marx knew there was a problem and he did a fairly competent job of identifying what the problem was, but he was totally wrong about the solution.

  • Pope Benedict in Spe Salvi gave the best short analysis of Karl Marx that I have ever read:

    “After the bourgeois revolution of 1789, the time had come for a new, proletarian revolution: progress could not simply continue in small, linear steps. A revolutionary leap was needed. Karl Marx took up the rallying call, and applied his incisive language and intellect to the task of launching this major new and, as he thought, definitive step in history towards salvation—towards what Kant had described as the “Kingdom of God”. Once the truth of the hereafter had been rejected, it would then be a question of establishing the truth of the here and now. The critique of Heaven is transformed into the critique of earth, the critique of theology into the critique of politics. Progress towards the better, towards the definitively good world, no longer comes simply from science but from politics—from a scientifically conceived politics that recognizes the structure of history and society and thus points out the road towards revolution, towards all-encompassing change. With great precision, albeit with a certain onesided bias, Marx described the situation of his time, and with great analytical skill he spelled out the paths leading to revolution—and not only theoretically: by means of the Communist Party that came into being from the Communist Manifesto of 1848, he set it in motion. His promise, owing to the acuteness of his analysis and his clear indication of the means for radical change, was and still remains an endless source of fascination. Real revolution followed, in the most radical way in Russia.

    21. Together with the victory of the revolution, though, Marx’s fundamental error also became evident. He showed precisely how to overthrow the existing order, but he did not say how matters should proceed thereafter. He simply presumed that with the expropriation of the ruling class, with the fall of political power and the socialization of means of production, the new Jerusalem would be realized. Then, indeed, all contradictions would be resolved, man and the world would finally sort themselves out. Then everything would be able to proceed by itself along the right path, because everything would belong to everyone and all would desire the best for one another. Thus, having accomplished the revolution, Lenin must have realized that the writings of the master gave no indication as to how to proceed. True, Marx had spoken of the interim phase of the dictatorship of the proletariat as a necessity which in time would automatically become redundant. This “intermediate phase” we know all too well, and we also know how it then developed, not ushering in a perfect world, but leaving behind a trail of appalling destruction. Marx not only omitted to work out how this new world would be organized—which should, of course, have been unnecessary. His silence on this matter follows logically from his chosen approach. His error lay deeper. He forgot that man always remains man. He forgot man and he forgot man’s freedom. He forgot that freedom always remains also freedom for evil. He thought that once the economy had been put right, everything would automatically be put right. His real error is materialism: man, in fact, is not merely the product of economic conditions, and it is not possible to redeem him purely from the outside by creating a favourable economic environment.”

    http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/encyclicals/documents/hf_ben-xvi_enc_20071130_spe-salvi_en.html

  • I guess “Marx” is philosophical and theological pathology.

    Attention all Keynesians!

    John Maynard Keynes quote: ” . . . socialism must always remain a portent to the historians of opinion – how a doctrine so illogical and so dull can have exercised so powerful and enduring an influence over the minds of men, and, through them, the events of history.” Keynes, “The End of Laissez-Faire.”

    Here is why there can be no “Gospel According to Saint Marx.”

    George Orwell, “Reflections on Gandhi”

    The Humanistic Ideal: “Man is the measure of all things and that our job is to make life worth living.”

    “But it is not necessary here to argue whether the other-worldly or the humanistic ideal is ‘higher.’ The point is that they are incompatible. One must choose between God and Man, and all ‘radicals’ and ‘progressives’ from the mildest liberal . . . have in effect chosen Man.”

    I think Keynes (RIP) and Orwell (RIP) “got” it.

  • Yes, note that, far from your assertion that Marx was simply a “poor philosopher,” Benedict describes him with the following phrases:

    “incisive language and intellect”; “With great precision, albeit with a certain onesided bias,Marx described the situation of his time, and with great analytical skill he spelled out the paths leading to revolution;”

    The Pope, rightly, goes on to note the “fundamental error” of Marx’s thought, but his criticism is so much the more persuasive because he has not fallen in for caricatures of Marx that you present as fact.

    By the way, the question whether Marx was, himself, a “materialist”–in the strongly philosophical sense of that word–is more difficult to answer than you might expect. But that’s another issue.

  • I believe that my description of Marx and the Pope’s analysis WJ are not in contradiction. Someone who gets the fundamental nature of Man wrong is a poor philosopher. As for caricatures of Marx WJ, in my post I let the man speak for himself, which I guess does reveal what a living caricature Marx tended to be.

  • “By the way, the question whether Marx was, himself, a “materialist”–in the strongly philosophical sense of that word–is more difficult to answer than you might expect.”

    How was Marx not a materialist in a “strong philisophical sense?”

  • I agree with this statement towards the end: “…as long as capitalism is still in business, Marxism must be as well.”

    That, I think, is the best argument against capitalism.

  • The only Marx worth remembering is Groucho. As for Karl, he sponged off Engels much of his life. After Marx wrote Das Kapital, his wife was so disgusted with his indolence, she remarked, “Karl, if you had only spent more time making capital instead of writing about it, we would have been better off.”

    As for capitalism and communism, the old joke applies:
    Capitalism is man’s exploitation of man; communism is the reverse.

  • Marx almost lost his meal ticket when Mary Burns, Engel’s mistress, died in 1863. Marx wrote Engels a letter which almost completely ignored her death. Engels wrote back stating that he had received quite a bit of sympathy over the death of his beloved from capitalists he knew, but none from Marx. Marx quickly wrote back and repaired the breach. Engels was one of the very few people in his life that Marx did not succeed in alienating. Marx knew a lot about alienation: he was a grand master at it!

  • “The reformer is always right about what is wrong. He is generally wrong about what is right.”

    G.K. Chesterton (1922)

    That observation is as valid today as it what then and before.

  • Well, Hume, Locke, Kant and Plato, from a Catholic anthropological standpoint, also “got the fundamental nature of Man wrong”, although their errors are, obviously, different from both Marx’s and from each other’s. Are they poor philosophers too? (I’m leaving aside the obvious riposte that getting the “fundamental nature of Man” *right* is not something attainable by probably any single philosopher.)

    On Marx and Materialism, see George L. Kline, “The Myth of Marx’s Materialism” in Philosophical Sovietology: The Pursuit of a Science

  • I stopped reading when Eagleton claimed that scarcity was the result of capitalism. I suppose I shouldn’t have expected better from a literary critic, but still.

    When I was in college I read the Manifesto and was of course repulsed by it. A friend suggested to me that Marx’s really valuable insights were in alienation, so I read some of his stuff on that but it didn’t make any sense to me either (IIRC, Marx’s views on alienation had a fairly strong anti-religious thread running through it, so I’m surprised that Pope Benedict would say that it is correct, but he is undoubtedly more familiar with the subject than I).

  • Yeesh, that article is a rather frightful piece of utopian wishful thinking masquerading as thought, but then, who can be surprised that Commonweal would be happy to print such a thing. It seems that Capitalism (whatever one takes that to be) is very much at fault for not making things even better than it has over the last 300 years — while Marxism bears no fault at all for how any polity based upon its principles has foundered.

    Incidentally, Don, have you run into Leszek Kolakowski’s delightful essay “My Correct Views on Everything“? It’s a twenty page bloodletting response to a windy 100 page “open letter” addressed to Kolakowski by British leftist intellectual Edward Thompson, explaining to Kolakowski the virtues of socialism which Kolakowski (having recently defected from communist Poland) may not realize. Hard not to love a piece which opens:

    In a review of the last issue of Socialist Register by Raymond Williams, I read that your letter is one of the best pieces of Left writings in the last decade, which implies directly that all or nearly all the rest was worse. He knows better and I take his word. I should be proud to having occasioned, to a certain degree, this text, even if I happen to be its target. And so, my first reaction is one of gratitude.

    And goes on from there.

  • “Are they poor philosophers too?”

    Hume: yes; Locke: no; Kant: probably yes, if anyone, including Kant, had the foggiest notion of what Kant was saying; Plato: no. He is saved by a Cave, although he has much to answer for in regard to his Republic.

  • Well, Hume, Locke, Kant and Plato, from a Catholic anthropological standpoint, also “got the fundamental nature of Man wrong”, although their errors are, obviously, different from both Marx’s and from each other’s. Are they poor philosophers too?

    Are you saying that there is no degree to wrongness but that it is a binary quality?

    I don’t think it would be a reach to say that Marx got things rather more than those, and in more key aspects — indeed, what Marx is accused of getting right is pretty trivial.

    As for the other four, they’re a highly varied bunch, and perhaps arguably arranged from most to least wrong. Still, each provides at least a few useful insights into the human predicament. Marx… Well, if someone got something useful out of him more power to them, but I don’t think there’s much there one couldn’t get elsewhere.

  • Marx was also a vicious racist. Nathaniel Weyl’s “Karl Marx, Racist” shows ol’ KM had incrediably racist feeling about Blacks, Jews, Slavs, and even Scandanavians. Racism, it’s not just for Nazi’s!

  • Don, reminds me of all those chicken-crossing-the-road jokes:

    Plato’s answer: “For the greater good.”
    Marx’s answer: “It was an historical inevitability.”
    Aristotle: “To actualize its potential.”
    Epicurus: “For fun.”
    Torquemada: “Give me ten minutes with the chicken and I’ll find out.”

  • Darwin,

    No, of course there are degrees; my point was merely to counter Donald’s too easy dismissal of Marx, which actually doesn’t allow a *substantive* or philosophically serious criticism of Marx to be voiced, because it has already constructed, and destroyed, a straw-man.

    Many things which Marx “got right” are also the sorts of things that Aristotle “got right,” especially involving the importance of practice for thinking seriously about ethics, and so on. But I don’t think that, from this premise, you can get to the conclusion “Well then you don’t need Marx,” precisely because Marx makes legible how *one* broadly Aristotelian approach to society and culture might look given modern economies. Not the *right* one, necessarily, but one which, if you are going finally to critique it, you need to understand.

  • I don’t expect to buy Philosophical Sovietology due to the price on-line. Unless you have a copy of the article, I will just go with the general philosophical consensus that Marx was a materialist.

    That being the case, Marx, more that Hume, Locke, Plato and Kant fundamentally failed as a philosopher.

    As to Marx’s critique of capitalism (of the Nineteenth Century) I will defer to others. As to his relevance to the situation today, I suspect the experience of the Twentieth Century answers that.

  • Phillip,

    You can get the article via Interlibrary Loan if that’s available in your community (some public libraries support this, others don’t; most colleges and some high schools do as well). I wouldn’t buy the book either!

    I’m not sure that I think that Marx “failed” as a philosopher “more” than Hume or Locke, but I’m also not sure I know what that means absent further specification. I agree that Kant and Plato are (rightly) considered “greater” philosophers than Marx.

    The question as to whether the existence of the Soviet Union, and the very great evils perpetrated by that regime (and other, like-minded regimes) constitutes sufficient reason to conclude that Marx is irrelevant today is a complex one. From both the writings of Benedict and Cardinal Reinhardt Marx, one gets the sense that the answer is, “it depends.” If you are looking for solutions, then, I agree, Marx is a non-starter; but if you are looking for analyses and trenchant (although somewhat one-sided) criticisms, I believe Marx still has much to offer.

  • Perhaps I mean failed in the sense of discerning the truth. Clearly all philosophers fall short of this to some degree. (Even Aristotle couldn’t discern a personal God.)

    But while Hume, Locke and Kant failed in their epistemology, the latter two at least accepted a transcendent even though they denied the ability to know it with any precision. As a result, they held a measure of the truth.

    Marx on the other hand, and I still hold this though we may see with the article, through his radical materialism, failed in a fundamental way to understand what is true and in turn what leads men to true happiness.

  • Don said above the P. Benedict has the best short summary of Marx in Spe Salvi and then quoted it. I’m going to quote part of that quote:

    “He forgot that man always remains man.”

    Now, find me a better anti-utopian one-liner. God bless the holy father.

  • “Don, reminds me of all those chicken-crossing-the-road jokes:”

    Good ones Joe. Here are a few more for Napoleonic lovers of fowl humor:

    Edmund Burke: “To escape from revolutionary France!”
    Robespierre: “The chicken will find that it is difficult to cross roads headless!”
    Napoleon: “Conscript that chicken!”
    Wellington: “The chicken was almost trampled! It was the nearest run thing you ever saw!”

  • “Incidentally, Don, have you run into Leszek Kolakowski’s delightful essay “My Correct Views on Everything“? It’s a twenty page bloodletting response to a windy 100 page “open letter” addressed to Kolakowski by British leftist intellectual Edward Thompson, explaining to Kolakowski the virtues of socialism which Kolakowski (having recently defected from communist Poland) may not realize. Hard not to love a piece which opens:”

    No I had not Darwin! Thank you for directing me to it. That was a howlingly funny read, and full of gems of wisdom such as this:

    “I found it regrettable to see in your Letter so many Leftist cliches which survive in speech and print owing to three devices: first, the refusal to analyse words-and the use of verbal hybrids purposely designed to confound the issues; second, the use of moral or sentimental standards in some cases and of political and historical standards in other similar cases; third, the refusal to accept historical facts as they are.”

    Little has changed in that regard over the past 37 years.

  • Don, one more chicken/road answer from Machiavelli:

    So that its subjects will view it with admiration,
    as a chicken which has the daring and courage to
    boldly cross the road, but also with fear, for whom
    among them has the strength to contend with such a
    paragon of avian virtue? In such a manner is the
    princely chicken’s dominion maintained.

  • Brilliant Joe, but now I can’t help myself. The chicken crosses the road into recent politics.

    Al Gore: I invented the road. (Pause) And the chicken.

    George Bush: The chicken crossed the road because it was kinder and gentler on the other side.

    Dick Cheney: After advanced interrogation techniques the chicken revealed that he crossed the road to alert the jihadists!

    John McCain: The chicken would have crossed the road except that it was still recovering from its ordeal as a POW in Vietnam.

    Sarah Palin: That chicken thought he was going to cross the road! Tune in to my next special and you’ll see how it can feed a family of six, with a little help from his friend Mr. Moose who also thought he was going to cross that road!

    Joe Biden: What road? What chicken?

    Barack Obama: The chicken, seizing upon the audacity of hope, crossed the road to receive the Nobel Peace Price for crossing that road of our hoped for change!

  • Don, worthy additions! Now you’ve got me going…

    Nietsche: Because if you gaze too long across the Road, the Road
    gazes also across you.

    Sartre: In order to act in good faith and be true to itself,
    the chicken found it necessary to cross the road.

    Darwin: It was the logical next step after coming down from the trees.

    bada bing

  • Pope Benedict: The chicken forgot that chicken always remains chicken, no matter what side of the road chicken is on.

  • The chickens have flown the Marxist coop on this thread!

  • John Donne: “It crosseth for thee.”

    OK, I’ll stop now. : )

  • The alienation that Marx desribes as the worker going through is largely the result of 19th century industrialisation, where through the division of labour, the workers found themselves increasingly deskilled and thus at the mercy of capitalists, who then no difficulty replacing them with women and children. The self-respect that most of us desire is to a considerable extent anchored in the value of the job we do. That the division of labour can lead to the dehumanising of workers, was easily grasped by the Luddites and the distributionists. One needn’t be a Marxist to understand it. The supremely assured F1 mechanic is not alienated from the result of his labour – he can see the car taking off at full speed – but an overeducated minion tending to a factory line machine, producing a small part of a small module of a car, certainly can be.

  • One of the great errors after the fall of the Evil Empire was not stigmatizing Marxism/Communism as was National Socialism after its defeat. Thus, the bizarre desire to resurrect it in varied forms now. The most bizarre, and vile, is the attempt to raise it again in the Church.

  • True Phillip. Imagine Commonweal giving space to someone claiming that fascism had its good points, contained great critiques of “plutocratic capitalism” and arguing that fascism should not be condemned out of hand because of Mussolini and Hitler. Unfortunately the old mantra “No enemies on the Left” is still in full force on the port side of the political spectrum apparently.

  • Phil, how is Marxism/Communism being ‘resurrected’? Other than its purest form (Cuba), it’s about as dead as Julius Caesar. Even the Chi-coms are committed capitalists these days. Marx, Lenin and their ilk have become mere footnotes in Planet Earth Incorporated. Terry Eagleton must have run out of material.

  • Joe,

    It is certainly being resurrected in Academia. The Eagleton link is one piece of “intellectual” resurrection. Not that that is much of a stretch given the Marxist bias of academia. That’s just the beginning.

  • Phillip,

    I don’t think it ever *died* in academia to begin with… the Marxists just quieted down some, but they’ve always insisted that the Soviets never *really* practiced Marxism.

  • Phil, granted, Academia is rife with Leftists, but their influence on the whole of society is limited.

    I don’t see millionaires like Sean Penn and Michael Moore, who rail against capitalism, surrendering their private jets and vacation homes or redistributing their wealth to the have-nots.

    Jesus said, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

  • Chris,

    That is probably a better way to put it. But given the time since the fall of the Wall and the current political/social situation, I think they and more of their ilk are increasing their cries for change.

    As opposed to Rahm Emanuel, I think the efforts of those who are radical Marxists/socialists to exploit these crises will have more widespread effects.

    Joe,

    I don’t think the effect of Academia is so limited. I think they have been quite effective in indoctrinating a whole generation to their thinking. Not that a generation is Marxist in a doctrinaire sense, but certainly more inclined to favor this thinking. Particularly in the “soft, taste great, less filling” form presented by many. This includes some in the Church such as Eagleton.

    As for the Hollywood types, they are hypocrites. Few are actual Marxists but some would be more than happy to run a re-education program. Most just want to feel good for ripping off people for their bad movies.

  • One example of that “soft” indoctrination would be the Howard Zinn/Matt Damon “The People Speak.” A collaboration of Communism and Hollywood.

  • Phil, perhaps easy to underestimate the impact of the Lefties in the classroom, although one wonders how much “education” is being absorbed in light of grim stats such as this: 67% of eight-graders in Wisconsin can’t read proficiently.

    As for Eagleton, he lost all cred with his diatribe against John Paul II, arguably the greatest man of the 20th century and the most influential pope of the Church.

    Back to the well-worn but always instructive mention of the dumbing down of America. John Taylor Gatto in his excellent “Underground History of American Education” offers this nugget:

    In 1882, fifth graders read these authors in their Appleton School Reader: William Shakespeare, Henry Thoreau, George Washington, Sir Walter Scott, Mark Twain, Benjamin Franklin, Oliver Wendell Holmes, John Bunyan, Daniel Webster, Samuel Johnson, Lewis Carroll, Thomas Jefferson, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and others like them.

    In 1995, a student teacher of fifth graders in Minneapolis wrote to the local newspaper, “I was told children are not to be expected to spell the following words correctly: back, big, call, came, can, day, did, dog, down, get, good, have, he, home, if, in, is, it, like, little, man, morning, mother, my, night, off, out, over, people, play, ran, said, saw, she, some, soon, their, them, there, time, two, too, up, us, very, water, we, went, where, when, will, would, etc. Is this nuts?”

    Nowadays, Huck Finn has been sanitized and the dictionaries are filling up with new “words” such as ‘LOL’ and ‘OMG’ — further signs of the declining literacy rate in America.

    Knowledge, and its ultimate fruit, wisdom, suffer greatly.

  • Don’t deny education has been dumbed down in America.

    “67% of eight-graders in Wisconsin can’t read proficiently.”

    But they are probably up to date on the status of the Teachers’ Union.

  • “One example of that “soft” indoctrination would be the Howard Zinn/Matt Damon “The People Speak.” A collaboration of Communism and Hollywood.”

    The video at the beginning of the post is from Howard Zinn’s play Marx in Soho, which established beyond doubt that the late Mr. Zinn was as poor a playwright as he was a historian.

    A critique of Zinn the historian from the Left:

    http://www.dissentmagazine.org/article/?article=385

    A critique of Zinn the historian from the Right:

    http://www.mindingthecampus.com/originals/2010/01/america_the_awfulhoward_zinns.html

  • I don’t see millionaires like Sean Penn and Michael Moore, who rail against capitalism, surrendering their private jets and vacation homes or redistributing their wealth to the have-nots.

    I wouldn’t expect them to, nor any other Marxist. Marxists and even many non-Marxist leftists are all for what they deem dignity and justice for the poor or working masses – they just don’t want, nor expect to be, part of the working mass. They want to be thoughtful and privileged administrators of the masses. They’re really just arrogant elitists and would-be tyrants, but in their mind it is okay because they know better than the common man what is best for him.

    Unfortunately, we see too much of that mindset in our mainstream politics and even coming from some Catholics.

  • Marx was a poor philosopher, if philosophers are developers and discerners of philosophy. Marx had some merits as an observer. As for the rest, it’s taken me two days to get through this post, original article, and thread (Marxism is intellectually exhausting!) and it’ll take me a bit longer to get my thoughts together.

  • Forgive the long post, Don, but this, too, from Gatto’s book on discipline then and now, for which a link can be found at the end. (A great read, and free on-line for you history lovers).

    Rules of the Stokes County School November 10, 1848
    Wm. A. Chaffin, Master

    OFFENSE LASHES
    1. Boys & Girls Playing Together 4
    2. Quarreling 4
    3. Fighting 5
    4. Fighting at School 5
    5. Quarreling at School 3
    6. Gambling or Betting at School 4
    7. Playing at Cards at School 10
    8. Climbing for every foot over three feet up a tree 1
    9. Telling Lies 7
    10. Telling Tales Out of School 8
    11. Nick Naming Each Other 4
    12. Giving Each Other ILL Names 3
    13. Fighting Each Other in Time of Books 2
    14. Swearing at School 8
    15. Blackguarding Each Other 6
    16. For Misbehaving to Girls 10
    17. For Leaving School Without Leave of the Teacher 4
    18. Going Home With Each Other without Leave of Teacher 4
    19. For Drinking Spiritous Liquors at School 8
    20. Making Swings & Swinging on Them 7
    21. For Misbehaving when a Stranger is in the House 6
    22. For Wearing Long Finger Nails 2
    23. For not Making a Bow when a Stranger Comes in 3
    24. Misbehaving to Persons on the Road 4
    25. For not Making a Bow when you Meet a Person 4
    26. For Going to Girl’s Play Places 3
    27. For Going to Boy’s Play Places 4
    28. Coming to School with Dirty Face and Hands 2
    29. For Calling Each Other Liars 4
    30. For Playing Bandy 10
    31. For Bloting Your Copy Book 2
    32. For Not Making a bow when you go home 4
    33. For Not Making a bow when you come away 4
    34. Wrestling at School 4
    35. Scuffling at School 4
    36. For Weting each Other Washing at Play Time 2
    37. For Hollowing and Hooping Going Home 3
    38. For Delaying Time Going Home or Coming to School 3
    39. For Not Making a Bow when you come in or go out 2
    40. For Throwing anything harder than your trab ball 4
    41. For every word you miss in your lesson without excuse 1
    42. For Not saying yes Sir or no Sir or yes Marm, no Marm 2
    43. For Troubling Each Others Writing Affairs 2
    44. For Not Washing at Play Time when going to Books 4
    45. For Going and Playing about the Mill or Creek 6
    46. For Going about the barn or doing any mischief about 7

    “Whatever you might think of this in light of Dr. Spock or Piaget or the Yale Child Study folks, it must be apparent that civility was honored, and in all likelihood, no one ever played Bandy a second time! I’ve yet to meet a parent in public school who ever stopped to calculate the heavy, sometimes lifelong price their children pay for the privilege of being rude and ill-mannered at school. I haven’t met a public school parent yet who was properly suspicious of the state’s endless forgiveness of bad behavior for which the future will be merciless.”

    http://www.johntaylorgatto.com/underground/toc1.htm

  • Joe Green: Well, I really have to wonder how much Thoreau or Oliver Wendell Holmes the average 5th grader could absorb. Still, it’s far better to overreach when it comes to education than it is to dumb down.

    One of the most irritating notions of our time is the common conceit that we are brighter than benighted past generations because we’re not racist or sexist like they were and besides, those dumb slobs didn’t have computers or cell phones or cars. If you are historically illiterate, you never realize that you are as thoroughly a creature of your own time and place as anybody born in any previous era and that the Founding Fathers or great artists like Shakespeare were infinitely less parochial than most human beings, past, present or future. Nor do they grasp that future generations will probably regard our tolerance of abortion with the same disgust people today feel toward, say, antebellum slaveholders. It takes a particular sort of arrogance to know nothing of history and yet feel sure that your own generation somehow sits at the pinnacle of human existence – because hey, Lincoln might have known the Bible by heart, but dude, would he have known what to do with an ipad?

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Midterm Election Results Show The Tide Continues To Turn Toward Catholic Orthodoxy

Wednesday, November 3, AD 2010

While most political pundits mull over the stunning defeat the Democrats suffered in the 2010 midterm election (some 60 seats in the House and at least seven in the Senate,) most pundits, including Catholic pundits will not have noticed a striking phenomena.  Though practicing Catholics easily went for McCain-Palin in 2008, the entire Catholic vote went for the Obama-Biden ticket somewhere between five to eight percent. Yet, in 2010 we are told that Catholics voted over 60+% against candidates who supported the Obama agenda. I have yet to see a statistic for practicing Catholics, but we can assume it is much higher than 60%. This turnaround is unprecedented in the history of political polling. Though, I do believe the majority of this is the result of economics, we are seeing a fundamental shift among Catholics. Some Catholics have abandoned the Church (and their conscience) to secularism and to entertainment based mega churches, but many Catholics now see the wisdom of Catholic orthodoxy. After the momentous mid-term election results, what a relief it is to see an open practicing Catholic as the new Speaker of the House (John Boehner,) compared to the outgoing Speaker (Nancy Pelosi) who openly defied the Teachings of the Church and her archbishop.

However, the good news doesn’t just end with the incoming new speaker. There were some great Catholic victories and I will highlight two of them. Those Catholics who aren’t ashamed about the 2,000 year old teachings of the Church were rewarded with unabashedly Catholic politicians like Senator elect Pat Toomey in Pennsylvania and Congressman elect Sean Duffy in Wisconsin, both reliable blue states. Toomey has been a trooper for pro-life causes while Duffy and his wife Rachel Campos Duffy have been big advocates for traditional parenting. They have a growing family and have not been ashamed of standing out in a world that is often hostile to traditional religion. Both were MTV Real World partipants and Rachel was the last one cut from being on the View. One can only imagine her going toe to toe with the likes of Whoopi Goldberg and Joy Behar (probably why she wasn’t picked.)

After the liberal perfect storm victory of 2008, I found myself on the receiving end of those who said Catholic orthodoxy, and or the conservative Catholic lifestyle was going the way of the horse and buggy. However, the hangover of liberal Big Government and the moral decay that goes along with those who think every lifestyle, feeling, whim, or urge needs to be embraced has aided many Catholics to see the wisdom of the two thousand year old teachings of the Catholic Church. In addition, I am sure hearing the latest rants of Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow, along with reading the latest screeds against Catholic orthodoxy from the likes of Catholics like outgoing Speaker Nancy Pelosi and columnists Maureen Dowd and E J Dionne has helped many see the light.

The plummeting poll numbers of liberals coupled with a few announcements from the Holy See must have made for an eternity for the left, primarily the Catholic left. In those days leading up to election day, Pope Benedict XVI gave an address on the plight of migrants and illegal aliens. The Holy Father spoke of the compassion one must have for those on the run, but he clearly stated that nations have the right to defend their borders and accept the integrity of their nation state. This was certainly a blow to those on the Catholic left, including some clergy and even a few prelates who seemed to favor unlimited immigration.

The finishing blow for the Catholic Left occurred when it was announced that Archbishop Raymond Burke formerly of St Louis and now head of the Vatican Court was going to be made a Cardinal. If that wasn’t bad enough, Cardinal Elect Burke made one of his patented unflinching addresses on the grave sin of those Catholics who vote for politicians that support abortion and same sex marriage. It was also announced that Archbishop Donald Wuerl of Washington DC was also to be named a Cardinal. Though friends with Cardinal Elect Burke, the two have sparred over whether Catholic politicians should be banned from receiving Holy Communion, something Cardinal Elect Wuerl is against. Cardinal Elect Burke has stated that the arguments used by his brother Cardinal Elect Wuerl and others, that state banning pro abortion politicians from receiving the Eucharist would politicize the sacrament and there is still much teaching to be done on the subject, are “nonsense.”  

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28 Responses to Midterm Election Results Show The Tide Continues To Turn Toward Catholic Orthodoxy

  • Yes, because nothing is so close to our Holy Mother Church as the platform of the Republican party in America.

  • Glad you finally recognize that. 😉

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  • I wouldn’t conflate electoral trends with trends in the Church more generally, still less (shudder) the Republican Party. Did the 2008 elections show the tide was turning away from Catholicism?

  • Do you have an example of Cdl-Des. Wuerl’s past chiming in about considering the greater good and one’s conscience?

  • John Henry, every political wave has an impact on religion and vice versa. I am sure I am not the only one who has heard anecdotal evidence of some saying after 2008 that they didn’t need religion and or specifically the Catholic Church. This is not unusual. For example, not everyone who went out to San Francisco during the Summer of Love in 1967 was a budding liberal. Some were conservative kids who went on a moral bender (so to speak) and came home and once again embraced the truths they were taught growing up.

    However, what I believe to be of greater significance are those liberals who thought after the Election of 2008, that they truly were the “ones we have been waiting for” (remember that speech?) However, world peace and economic nirvana didn’t come to fruition, actually far from it. Because of it, some realized what Big Government could never do and resumed their quest for the truth. In those quests, a 2,000 year old institution (the Church) becomes an interesting option. Now I am not asserting that it is anything but a tide. I hope some day to talk about a tsunami. However, a tide sure beats stagnant water.

  • There are very few Catholic Bishops and Prelates that support unlimited immigration. Theere are many that support comprensive immigration reform

    Conservative Catholic job will also include pointing out the extreme no amnesty crowd that there is a differnce especilly in this COngress

  • Dave:

    I’ve read those links. In fact, I double checked them before posting my question to you.

    Neither of them quote Cdl-Des. Wuerl talking about considering the greater good and one’s conscience.

    Do you have an example where he does what you say he “usually” does?

  • Tom K, in the interest of clarity I have reworded the paragraph to state that both men have a disagreement over denying Holy Communion to pro abortion politicians. Cardinal Wuerl doesn’t agree with it, while Cardinal Elect Burke says there is no other choice.

  • It’s helpful to remember that being a Cardinal or being a Pope makes one neither prudent nor wise.

    I have come to believe that there are two Magisteriums: that of the bishops, and that of the saints. While the bishops generally do a very good job articulating the dogmas of faith, they generally do a poor job of living those dogmas out. They generally an even worse job of articulating the prudential application of those dogmas. In other words, they can tell you that the Golden Rule is right, but they generally don’t live it, and hence, they usually don’t know how to explain it.

    The saints, however, live the truth in love. Their living Magisterium teaches us what all those encyclicals and councils mean. I speak, of course, not simply of the saints officially recognized by the bishops, but of all the saints.

    When it comes to Cardinal-to-be Burke, then, I remember the words of Christ: “do and observe all things whatsoever they tell you, but do not follow their example. For they preach but they do not practice.”

  • Dave:

    Capital!

    I remain fascinated by this statement: “It appears Pope Benedict XVI’s elevation of Cardinal Burke to such a senior position in the Vatican caused the establishmentarian spiritual leader of the nation’s capital (as well as its various legislative bodies) to hold his tongue.”

    Cdl-Des Burke, of course, held his current position in the Vatican when Cdl-Des Wuerl gave the interview in the link you suggested to me, and as you indicate they will both be made cardinals at the same time. To me, that makes it appear that Pope Benedict’s elevation of Cdl-Des Burke is demonstrably not the reason Cdl-Des Wuerl held back a comment on Cdl-Des Burke’s statement. But then it’s not even apparent to me that he had a comment to hold back.

  • Dowd is Catholic? Really?

  • Yes! Cardinal Burke and I seem to agree. You probably will not be getting into Heaven if you vote dem.

    Nate: OUCH. I know you have good intent. The real Church counsels charity and truth in all things.

    Teachable Moment: Calumny is defined by the American Heritage Dictionary (1992) as a “false statement maliciously made to injure another’s reputation.” The Catechism of the Catholic Church (1994) places calumny as a serious sin under the Eighth Commandment, “Thou shall not bear false witness against your neihbor.” The Catechism states, “He becomes guilty of calumny who, by remarks contrary to the truth, harms the reputation of others and gives occasion for false judgments concerning them” (2447). The Catechism notes that calumny offends “against the virtues of justice and charity” (2479).

    Please don’t emulate them vile, kool-aid drinking marxists.

  • Maureen Dowd’s uncle was Tommy (“the Cork”) Corcoran. He paid her way when she was an undergrad at Catholic University.

  • Dave is very clear that the connection between the Faith and yesterday’s voting pattern is based on the tendency of many individual Republicans at this time to believe in the holiness of life and the dignity of the individual. I understand that several generations ago those who identified themselves as Republicans were less protective of the unborn than those who then identified themselves as Democrats. The stability and the consistency are in the Faith, not in shifting party labels.

  • “Cardinal Burke and I seem to agree. You probably will not be getting into Heaven if you vote dem.”

    Well, in that case I’m doomed because I did actually vote for ONE Democrat this time… a candidate for a local office. I did so because the incumbent Republican has demonstrated what I consider to be egregious mismangement of his department to the point of threatening public safety (too long to explain here) and I felt he needed to go. (Didn’t do any good; he won anyway).

    At the local level sometimes you get people who run as Democrats, Independents, or Greens or Libertarians simply in order to provide opposition to the incumbent and not out of any affinity toward the Democratic party platform. Plus, their jobs cannot impact abortion, same-sex marriage or any of the non-negotiable Catholic issues anyway.

  • Yes Mack, I specifically avoided using party labels for the very reasons you chronicled. There was a time (in the early 1970s) when there were probably more pro-abortion Rockefeller Republicans than pro-abortion Democrats in the South & Midwest.

    The article was about the faithful removing their faith in Big Government liberalism and putting it back into the core teachings of the Church.

    There was a time (decades and centuries ago) when the faithful and not so faithful came to the Church for aid, and not the government. Sadly for some today, Big Government is their belief system.

  • T Shaw, really??? I don’t vote, but I am really tired of hearing people damn others for voting Democratic.

    Give me a break. You really think people deserve an eternity of torture for supporting political candidates you don’t like? First, at an individual level voting does not change political outcomes. So, who you vote for is only of symbolic importance, making the notion that one’s electoral preferences constitute grave matter suspect. Second, people might sincerely believe in alternatives to criminalization as a means to combat abortion. Those arguments may or may not stand up to scrutiny, but being incorrect doesn’t mean a person deserves hell. Finally, who qualified you to decide who is probably not getting into heaven?

  • “I noted that even though the Diocese of Rochester had more Catholics than the dioceses of Lincoln and Omaha combined, Rochester had 6 men studying for the priesthood while Lincoln and Omaha had 64.”

    This is the ‘proof’ in EVERYTHING you write…

  • I can’t really agree that voting Democrat ipso facto is a sin, etc. There are some decent local Democrats who are good candidates. It is the individual candidate’s qualifications/position on issues that need to be judged. Particularly in the South, there are a lot of pro-life Democrats.

  • T. Shaw, I should clarify that it is not simply the bishops who generally fail to follow Christ, but all of us who are not yet holy. It isn’t, I think, an act of calumny to remind ourselves that we are indeed sinners, even our bishops and popes.

    Now, a bishop or pope who is not only an authoritative teacher, but a holy teacher, is a rare and precious gift from God! John Paul the Great comes to mind.

  • I think the Supreme Court has 5 Catholics, but wouldn’t count on them as a solid block when it comes to voting. As encouraging as GOP gains in legislative races has been, social issues are generally decided by the Supremes and the addition of Sotomayor and Kagan, along with their Lib colleagues, makes any reversal of abortion policy highly dubious.

  • Yes Mark DeFrancisis, I will continue to regularly mention those statistics which highlight the demise of once proud places like Rochester, where leadership has simply given short shrift to orthodoxy. In addition, I will continue to highlight places where vocations are growing like Lincoln and Denver. There are blogs dedicated to the subject in places like Rochester where vocations are sparse. I would hope as a Catholic you would want to know why places like Denver and Lincoln are thriving, while the reverse is happening in locations like Rochester. Wouldn’t you want to know why Lincoln and Omaha combined had nearly 10x the vocations as did Rochester, even though Rochester is bigger than both Lincoln and Omaha combined? In locations such as Lincoln and Denver the Church’s teachings are embraced and dissidents are not welcomed. In addition in places like Denver and Lincoln, Marian Devotions and Eucharistic Adoration are widely practiced.

  • I wonder, Mr. Hartline, if the link between vocations and orthodoxy isn’t rather a link between vocations and traditionalism?

    Orthodoxy and traditionalism aren’t always the same thing. The Amish are quite traditional, and have been growing well for quite some time. They have a strong sense of identity rooted in a counter-cultural lifestyle. But obviously they aren’t orthodox.

    I’ve noticed that vocations do blossom where traditional practices are practiced, where young Catholics can feel part of a strong counter-cultural social body. But traditional practices do not always translate into orthodoxy.

    Orthodoxy, and orthopraxis, are right belief and right action. Many traditional doctrines have undergone development within the Church–especially (and most importantly) the social doctrines. I have noticed that many of the younger priests are very pro-life (thank God!), but do not seem to understand that peace and justice constitute (in the words of the Church) an integral and essential aspect of evangelization–of the Gospel. Many do not even seem to understand what justice is.

    The danger, then, is that in promoting traditional practices and thoughts, though we may gain many vocations, but we may also end up with many priests who are deaf to the ‘Church in the Modern World’.

    My best, Nate.

  • Francisco,

    Take a nap. That comment is hyperbole and a wild-eyed generalization. I do not dislike dem candidates. I hate innumerable evils they impose on America.

    Nate, You wrote up bishops. If you wrote thusly about me, it would be appropriate.

    Mark D: How’z it been, you Obamacatholic?. Are you okay after Tuesday nite?

    I was about to commit detraction. I am likely the vilest person any of you ever imagined.

  • Nate, on the surface your point seems to have much merit. However when you dig deeper, you can see that it really doesn’t hold water. For example, the Amish completely ignore the modern world, and while they seem to be growing, they are not. There is much consternation over some young Amish leaving the fold and living outside the community during the day (working and partying), only to come back late at night. I have even heard there is a theological battle over cell phones, since many believe that because they use battery power they aren’t techincally electrical-modern devices.

    As for Catholicism, I have spoken to a number of seminary rectors and they point out an interesting finding. Often, the young men coming their way are those young men from smaller cities outside the wealthy urban and suburban areas. These young men are often well adjusted and quite liked and successful. They come to understand their vocation, sometimes in college and sometimes in their late 20s. They fit in well with the world around them and often have successful jobs, many friends and a girlfriend. However, they come to find that they have the greatest love for the Church and feel she is the only hope in a world that has embraced pleasure and possessions at a break neck level.

    In addition, they feel truth has become hostage to what Pope Benedict XVI calls, “The Dictatorship of Relativism.” Incidentally, the same dynamic holds for young woman who are embracing a more traditional view of the religious life, complete with embracing the habit and or veil. I am not saying every seminarian is going to make a stellar priest, but the days are long gone when the seminary would take some young man who didn’t fit in and hoped he could as a priest. As one rector told me, the results of that practice were disastrous. The rectors, who have been rectors for quite some time, have told me that they can’t remember a time when they have seen such a period where class after class has such stellar seminarians. Nate, I hope this explanation helps. Take care!

  • Unfortunately the tsunami, or should I say Tea-nami, failed to make a dent in the liberal stronghold that is my home state of California. Saints preserve us from those who got this state in the mess we’re in and those who had the audacity to keep them in office.

Two Momentous But Little Remembered Dates In Western & Church History

Tuesday, October 12, AD 2010

Recently two momentous events in Western and Church History passed with hardly a mention. Actually, these events may be better known in the Muslim world than the Christian world; the Islamic army’s desecration of St. Peter’s in Rome, along with St John Lateran and other churches in 846, and the stunning defeat of the Islamic military onslaught by Charles  the Hammer Martel at Tours, France in 732. Though these two events occurred over 100 years apart, they do point out that until the Ottoman-Turkish Islamic defeat in 1683 at the gates of Vienna; Europe was facing a never ending threat from radical Islam. Yet how is it that according to the mainstream media it was the fault of Christians, and specifically Catholics? In my last article, I wrote of the naval Battle of Lepanto in 1571 and the land at the Gates of Vienna in 1683. Some wondered why I didn’t right about Charles the Hammer Martel and some of the earlier Islamic incursions into Europe. Now is a good time to delve into that subject. (For more on Charles the Hammer Martel and the Battle of Tours please read this excellent article by my colleague Donald McClarey.)

Ask most practicing Catholics, Evangelicals and mainline Protestants who Charles the Hammer Martel was and you would probably get blank stares. Perhaps a few young people might be under the false impression that he is some sort of up and coming professional wrestler. However, you would probably stand a better chance of having someone in the Islamic world tell you about Charles the Hammer Martel. The same might be true for the sack of Rome in 846 by Muslim forces who disembarked at Ostia (the Tiber port) and marched right into Rome desecrating holy sites like St Peter’s and St John Lateran and leaving the Eternal City with their plunder. Many in the western world might be surprised why they have never heard this and why those who reside in the Islamic world are better informed of these events than in the Western World. Let us peer back into time to see what we can learn about the past and what it might mean for the future.

It is said that God can make the best out of the worst. As Charles Martel grew older and realized that his mother was simply a consort of his regal father, Charles must have realized that he could have been abandoned to poverty, or worse yet aborted (if that had happened Christianity might have been confined to Ireland!) Charles must have developed a thick skin and a courageous spirit that enabled him not to run at the first sign of trouble. Europe was in a state of near panic by 730 as the well seasoned professional Islamic Army had laid waste to much of the Middle East and North Africa leaving the homes of those past saints like Augustine in ruins. Europe was in the Dark Ages, armies were merely feudal in their makeup, a far cry from the type of regimented units needed to stop the largest invading armies Europe had seen since the days when Rome ruled the world.

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In Britain, the Triumph of Pope Benedict XVI And the English Martyrs and the Tragedy of Those Who Would Not Listen To Them

Monday, September 20, AD 2010

It seemed unfathomable, even a few short years ago; an aging German pope arriving in Britain to the cheers and rapt attention of many, all this while his detractors were dismissed as everything that is wrong with Britain and the modern world. Saint Thomas More, Bishop John Fisher and the rest of the English martyrs must be smiling in heaven. The English martyrs, like the well known (like Sir Thomas) and the unsung Saint Margaret Clitherow found their views more often than not supported by the rank and file. However, the same rank and file didn’t have the courage to make the stand as did these courageous men and women who were martyred. Though Catholicism was widely practiced, the fear of blood thirsty king, left many too weak to fight the good fight. (If you don’t believe this, read Eamon Duffy’s The Stripping of the Altars.)

Yet, the truth will either set you free or convict you of false witness. It was the brutal King Henry VIII, who left Catholicism because Pope Innocent III wouldn’t give him a divorce. The king later had two of his wives beheaded, a rather odd sort of person to start a church, but start a church he did. Starting in 1534 Catholics would be killed and a legal Catholic Mass wasn’t allowed to be celebrated in Britain, or conquered Ireland, for nearly 300 years. The creation of King Henry the Anglican Church would reach the far flung corners of the mighty British Empire. As recent as fifty years ago, the Anglican Church in Britain had one of the highest rates of church attendance in the western world. Her teachings were mirrored by the life of those CS Lewis. Fifty years later, her teachings are mirrored by the likes of Elton John. However, to be fair to Sir Elton, even he is to the right of the Anglican Church on matters like welcoming Islamic Sharia Law to Britain as the spiritual leader of the Anglicans, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams recently did.

The Catholic Church has been derided and mocked by the mainstream media for some time. One might think that with all of this and the horrible Abuse Scandal within the Church; it would be the Catholic Church that would be withering and not the liberal Anglican Church, who is modeling the whims of the modern world. Yet, the Catholic Church continues to grow and even rapidly so in Africa and Asia (Christ told us this would be so Matthew 16:15-20.)  The faithful aren’t as ignorant as the militant secularists would like to believe. The religious faithful of all stripes are beginning to clearly understand what Pope Benedict XVI is saying about the dangers of the Dictatorship of Relativism. It cannot work, as Jesus reminded us; we cannot serve two masters. Sadly that is what modern Anglicanism and liberal Christianity has tried to do. The results have been disastrous.

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14 Responses to In Britain, the Triumph of Pope Benedict XVI And the English Martyrs and the Tragedy of Those Who Would Not Listen To Them

  • I wonder how More would view the current state of affairs with divorce, annulments and those of us who have sought Roman intervention as our adulterous spouses are welcomed, unrepentant, in the Catholic Church?

    We are ignored, as we remain faithful to our vows.

    Our children are abused as well, taken from innocent abandoned, faithful, parents and the new lovers are listened to, by the Church in our place as we
    are allowed no place in our childrens lives but what is allowed by the state and our violators.

    I had NO SAY AT in our children’s sacraments! What good is a refused annulment, when it means nothing, except postponing a Church wedding
    until our deaths are hastened, with the full cooperation of the Church, and then the unrepentant lovers can have their cake andeat it too.

    No, Benedict does not impress me.

    He knows what is going on and he does nothing to come to our aid.

  • Karl I am sorry for your pain. I think it would be wise for all readers to pray for people in your situation. However, I don’t believe any of this is Pope Benedict’s fault. The fault lies with a society that condones immorality and believes there is no black and white, only gray.

  • The Popes visit seems to have gone not according to the secularist vision of things. We are fortunate to have this man as our Pope.

  • Doug, you are absolutely right. I think the Holy Father has caused the militant secularistss fits since the day the Holy Spirit helped inspire his election. Pope Benedict goes against everything the secularists believe and lacks the charisma of his predecessor Pope John Paul II. Yet, he draws bigger crowds than anyone expected, both in Vatican City and his international trips. May God keep him safe and healthy for many more years.

  • I live in the UK and in my eyes the most striking event was the fact that the protesters were utterly and completely ignored.
    Ignored by both the people – who gathered at the roadside and at the official celebrations in huge numbers – and the media – who kept largely silent about them in view of their utterly obvious irrelevance -.

    For months in this country, liberal media have tried to identify the Church with the (homosexual) pardophile priest scandal; many a tv station and particularly the BBC would mention the Church **exclusively** in connection with the (homosexual) paedophile priest scandal.

    This visit was a brilliant reminder that the media cannot shape public opinion to more than a very limited extent. People continue to think with their own heads and whilst they are often weak or indifferent (as in the largely secularised United Kingdom) they are most certainly not anywhere near as stupid as our smug journalist class thinks they are.

    Mundabor

  • Mundabor, good to see someone from the UK weigh in on this, your personal observations are very heartening. I do believe even in the UK the tide is beginning to turn!

  • After this truly triumphant visit of Pope Benedict XVI to Great Britain, not only are the British martyrs smiling in Heaven but, also, I can just hear Queen Mary saying “Hah!” to both her father and her sister!

  • Apollo,

    Hopefully, she doesn’t have to shout that a long way down, as it were.

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  • If you seek the true faith of the ancient church, see orthodoxinfo.com, monachos.net, ancientfaith.com, “The Orthodox Study Bible.”

  • Thank you for posting Eastern Orthodox. Due to the onslaught from militant scularism and radical Islam, our churches are closer than they have been since the 11th Century. However, I do think it is fair to remind the readers that it was to Rome that the Early Church always looked. From those in Corinth who wrote to Pope Clement in 96 AD, to those in the East who pleaded for the Pope’s intervention during the Iconoclast Movement. One must also remember that the Orthodox Patriach pleaded to Pope Urban for help during the Islamic Invasion (which lead to the First Crusade.) I hope and pray the division can cease and we can become One as Christ commanded (John 10:16.) Judging from the cordial visits Pope Benedict XVI has had with various Patriarch, this may soon be a reality. God Bless & take care!

  • And to think of how deflated are those who thought they had the pope right where they wanted him.

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If Liberals Lose Big In This Fall's Election, The Professional Left Will Mock The Religious Faithful

Wednesday, August 18, AD 2010

This fall all of the hopes and dreams of those who have detested Middle American values stands in the balance. Those values are best exemplified in religious beliefs shared by many faith traditions. However, Catholics, Evangelicals, Orthodox Christians and Orthodox Jews are those to which the angry Professional Left, to use Robert Gibbs (President Obama’s Press Secretary’s) term, will most turn their anger.  Some may say this seems a little far-fetched, after all aren’t some of those people from the “Professional Left” religious themselves? Yes, some on the “Professional Left” are religious, but they often go to great pains to say they are not affiliated with any faith tradition. They often classify themselves as “spiritual.”

During the 2008 Presidential Campaign, then Senator Obama made by his own admission his biggest gaffe. The future President, speaking in  San Francisco, called those middle Americans of western Pennsylvania, “bitter clingers.” In his own words, the future President described western Pennsylvania residents as hard working salt of the earth folks who clung to “their guns and religion,” presumably because they weren’t enlightened enough to understand the modern world.

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8 Responses to If Liberals Lose Big In This Fall's Election, The Professional Left Will Mock The Religious Faithful

  • “Our Lady of Mount Carmel”

    The True Story of “Our Lady of Mount Carmel” Occurred in Puerto Rico between 1899 and 1909, and has been narrated by eyewitnesses.

    We can see The Terrible Situation of Poverty in Latin America at this time; The Initial Disbelief of the Bishop; The Miracle Flowering of Faith… go through the Miracle Mercy of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

    The fulfillment of 73 of over 76 of their Prophecies, are consistent with Her Messages in La Salette; Lourdes, Fatima and Garabandal.

    “Our Lady of Mount Carmel” Prophesied for the “End of Time”, and your Message can be Announced by a Film Made by You.

    Thanks,
    Ricardo Fernández – Franciscan Mary

  • Please do not blame only the left, as your italicized section above strongly implies, for religion in tatters, especially the Catholic Church. The so called, good Catholic conservatives have their share too.

    I consider myself a conservative, for whatever that may matter and yes, the left is a particularly heinous lot, but they are not alone.

    Thank you.

  • Karl, the italicised words to which you refer link to an article which I wrote. Perhaps the prudent thing to do would be to read that article before you comment. Since you went out of your way to stick up for the left, perhaps you are an altruistic poster who defends conservatives from attacks on the many liberal blogs. That is only known to you, however, in retrospect, I would suggest you read the article to which you referred before you claim that I only indict the left. I would also suggest you read the italicised section referring to the Conservative Intelligentsia. I take them to task as well. Take care!

  • Is the “professional left” composed of those who oppose a Cross in the Mojave Desert? Or, those who stopped rebuilding of the Orthodox Church at Ground Zero? Or, those oppose “In God We Trust” on the money? Or, who oppose “Under God” in the pledge of Allegiance? Or, oppose private enterprise? Or, oppose equal opportunity? Or, oppose the free market? Or, oppose the right to life? Or, those who hate America? Or, . . .

    We need to pray for said professional left. That they come to a better mind/repent, confess, do penance, amend their lives, and through good works glorify Almighty God.

  • T Shaw, we certainly do need to pray for the Professional Left. I was immediately drawn to the term because if Robert Gibbs uses it and feels the White House’s policies aren’t liberal enough for some in the mainstream media (my guess is he was talking about the talking heads at MSNBC) than heaven help us all.

  • We’ll just have to keep our trust in God that he will draw good from evil, even if that means allowing for the far left to accede to power as a way of awakening Americans to the reality of the “Party of Death.”

  • Well okay, they will snicker and mock, oh my, not that!

    If anyone wants or has even a bit of expectation of being admired by the elite in this time that we live in, for fighting for the things we believe in, had better expect some kind of reaction. I will gladly take all the mocking, snickering etcetera, rather than alternatives that can be expected, when and if the left becomes stronger in the future. The fact that they are still making fun of us is better than then arrest and trial for holding illegal and irrational beliefs that we may come to expect.

    Recent history of Russia and Eastern Europe shows clearly the fate of traditional believers. There are lessons like this all over the planet.

    Secularism is one thing, arrests in the night is another thing all together. These things are not impossible here, however unlikely. It is uncanny how close the beliefs and values of our progressives are to those of that the left widely held, one hundred years ago in another part of our civilization.

  • This is a good article, thanks. However, just to pick on the title a bit, the Pro Left will bust our nuts whether they win or lose.

The Coming Open Rebellion Against God

Tuesday, February 9, AD 2010

The title of this article almost sounds surreal. At first one could be forgiven for thinking it was some sort of low budget End Times movie seen on some local cable access channel. However, the information contained within this article is real, fortunately, as believers and specifically those of us who are Catholic we know that Jesus promised that His Church would not fall despite the attempts of those working for the evil one. God is the truth and God is love, but the mere fact that He is both has caused many rebellions against him literally from day one. Sadly, those who often claim to be the smartest act the most childish, by at first claiming God doesn’t exist and then claiming if He does exist, He doesn’t make sense at least to them. This article will look at this behavior from the world’s earliest moments, but will mainly focus on what has happened in the last few years, right up until this very moment.

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61 Responses to The Coming Open Rebellion Against God

The Tide is Turning Toward Catholicism Because The Pope of Christian Unity (Pope Benedict XVI) Is Gathering the Scattered Flocks Left Behind by Those Who Thought They Knew Better Than The Church

Sunday, November 22, AD 2009

The Catholic Church has always had a bull’s-eye attached to it, and in truth many of us wouldn’t want it any other way, for when we are almost universally loved, as has happened a few times in the last 40 years we have become “of the world,” instead of suffering for the world.”  Lately, during the pontificates of Pope John Paul II and now Pope Benedict XVI dark forces have gathered at the gates of truth attacking the Church for a variety of long held beliefs.  These beliefs can range from the theological to the social. However, following the US Election of 2008 a tidal wave seems to have inundated the Church from the mainstream media, the political realm and even the entertainment world. The Church’s 2,000 year old teachings and beliefs have been attacked in the United States and Western Europe from elected officials, the mainstream media and well known entertainment celebrities. Some of the faithful have become discouraged and questioned me as to how the thesis of my book, The Tide is Turning Toward Catholicism, could possibly be true in light of this news.

The truth of the matter is that against this troubling backdrop the Church continues to grow around the world, especially in African and Asia but even in North America, where much of the onslaught against the Church has emanated. Seminaries and Mother Houses often have no room for those pursuing a vocation and those young African and Asian men and women are often sent to the US or Europe to explore their vocation. Even in the US and pockets of Europe seminaries are experiencing a mini boom. One seminary rector told me that in the 40+ plus years of being affiliated with the Church, he has never seen a longer sustained period of top notch orthodox minded young men coming in and being ordained as he has seen in the last 10 years. Perhaps this is why the powers that be are so angry.

It seemed the US midterm Election of 2006 emboldened the cause of those militant liberals and secularists who have contempt for much of what orthodox minded Catholicism holds dear. Following the results of the Election of 2008, many pundits proclaimed the results as a sea change for America. Agnostics and atheists gleefully announced that a world where religion and especially conservative or orthodox minded Catholicism held sway was being replaced by a humanist brand of religion where age old teachings were replaced by the ideas of “enlightened” religious leaders, agnostic thinkers, and pop culture celebrities. It seemed this new brand of liberal thinker was less idealistic than their 1960s peers and displayed an anger and hostility that was a far cry from the utopian idealism displayed some 40 years ago. Yet, beneath the surface and below the radar screens of many news organizations, lies the hope of the Catholic faithful who hold on to the ideas  imparted by Christ, His Apostles, Popes, Bishops, Priests, Women Religious, Saints and holy laymen and laywomen throughout the centuries.

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6 Responses to The Tide is Turning Toward Catholicism Because The Pope of Christian Unity (Pope Benedict XVI) Is Gathering the Scattered Flocks Left Behind by Those Who Thought They Knew Better Than The Church

  • I appreciate your message of hope.

    Your title is way, way too long!

  • The Church, the holy bishops and priests, the laiety, and the Holy Father certainly have Satan running scared!

  • I have been told by some evangelicals that there belief that eventually all orthodox christians will be under the care and protection of the Catholic Church. Even though there is disagreement among them. I tend to agree with there reasoning and from the signs we are seeing. I pray that the holy spirit comes to all those that need the help to come home.

  • As usual Dave, you tell like it is. Although some did not like Bishop Tobin’s public response to Patrick Kennedy, who found out quickly that his ilk will no longer be tolerated in his actions against the tenets of the Church, I belive more and more Bishops have come to the realization, that speaking out after conferring with these so called “catholics” has strenghtened the laity. Take care and God Bless.

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  • Splendid column as usual, Dave. No doubt the damage wrought by Luther will be repaired and unity restored, thanks to the secularists whose relentless assault have recently spurred the Christians to draw a line in the sand with the Manhattan Declaration to show that they will not render to Caesar what is God’s.

Government Funded Health Care Open Thread

Friday, July 24, AD 2009

In light of Zach’s stellar posting which generated over 240 comments ranging from anarchism to Oscar Romero and which inspired a posting by Michael Denton.  These comments, although informative to a certain extent, may have detracted from the original intent of the posting.  Henceforth in regards to said activities being done on Zach’s posting concerning Representative Chris Smith, I am starting a new tradition here at American Catholic, the open thread.

So feel free to comment to your hearts delight that isn’t related to any other postings on this website.

The comments policy is still in place so don’t forget to treat each other as brothers and sisters in Christ.

Enjoy.

Marxist Health Care

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12 Responses to Government Funded Health Care Open Thread

  • I do not oppose a health care bill that extends coverage beyond the narrow concerns protected under Medicaid, Medicare, and SSI. I object to bloated bills that have not been read. I object to rushing to publish a bill, any bill, for purely political reasons. I object to “stealth” measures to hide within larger bills truly controversial legislation like FOCA. I object to the blackmail that this process creates, diminishing debate and deliberation to little more than key points, without the detail necessary to analyze the effects. Most of all, I object to a President, ANY President, telling the legislature what kind of legislation to pass, what it should do and say, and when it shall be completed. This is bullying and strikes as the core of the Separation of Powers.

    In the instant debate, I am THRILLED to see this rush to cobble together a bill delayed. Now, maybe, we can come up with something that specifically addresses the issues as hand without delving into issues that should be addressed as separate bills.

  • G-Veg,

    I agree to most of your points except the need for government run health care. Which both violates subsidiarity and distributism.

  • I forget who pointed out. Appropos of your cartoon, it appears the right has an unhealthy obsession with anal penetration, specifically anal rape.

  • M.Z.,

    What gnostic class can I take to follow your line of thinking?

  • Tito,

    I love you, man, but you are better than a post with that cartoon as its header.

  • Frankly, the cartoon was a lot more innocuous than M.Z.’s rather inflammatory response to it.

  • Why does it violate subsidiarity?

  • The principle of subsidiarity is that matters should be handled at the most local level as possible and if it cannot adequately at that level be taken care of, it can move up to the next point. The problem is, I think most Democrats will argue, is that the states do not have the resources to address the matter sufficiently because it is fixing a regional problem within a intricately more complicated problem. So, I don’t think one can simply say it violates subsidiarity as if that is some obvious objective fact that cannot, rightly or wrongly, be disputed.

    All Democratic proposals aside. I have read criticism after criticism, but I have read very little by way of solutions to the problem. I have seen what I think are credible starting-points amending parts of the system, but nothing comprehensively to address the whole of health care in America, while restraining the government. If this were really a serious problem, I’d almost expect a solution. The closest thing I’ve seen is the Patients Choice Act which has earned about every stripe of Republican criticism and has incorporated by and large waves of Democratic ideas.

    I think the *structure* of the health care markets is deeply flawed and I don’t see them re-structuring unless it is via the legislative process. I’m sure we won’t agree on details. But it seems opposition to Democratic health care proposals almost always opposition (indirectly) to reform, which ends up not happening — to the total chagrin of the people who need it the most.

  • Eric,

    Were the Federal Government to provide a straightforward and unrestricted subsidy to state, county, and municipal government determined according to a formula taking into account population and per capita income, the principal structural impediment to state authorities acting as medical insurers would be removed. Why not leave general income redistribution, macroeconomic stabilization (e.g. unemployment compensation), and public works implicated in moving people and goods across state lines to the center and other services to the periphery?

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  • Eric,
    I have read very little by way of solutions to the problem.

    have you checked out the Republican proposals? John McCain’s policy is a great starting point. I believe it’s the brainchild of an actual physician.

    Here’s the key points without getting into the nitty gritty:

    1. Tort Reform – liability insurance and payouts for exorbitant claims account for 20% of healthcare costs.

    2. Equal Access – eliminate preferential tax treatment of employer sponsored plans vs. private plans. Accomplished by eliminating the employer’s deduction, and giving a tax credit to all Americans with which to purchase health care as they see fit.

    3. Open Market – allow individuals and employers to purchase any plan authorized by any state.

    4. Encourage Health savings and catastrophic INSURANCE coverage instead of pre-paid health care.

    These actions will drive down the cost of health care while maintaining the motivators for continued advancement and excellence.

    Now, you can never again say haven’t heard any alternatives.

3 Responses to Karl Marx on the Election